Source: New Zealand Government
The Taranaki Crossing Project is on track with the completion of the first section of the upgraded walk, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage have announced.
“The Taranaki Crossing project is intended to enhance visitors’ appreciation and enjoyment of the region, Taranaki maunga, and the Pouakai Ranges. The completion of this first section of boardwalk means locals and visitors alike are now able to safely experience beautiful bush in the Egmont National Park close to New Plymouth without getting bogged down in mud,” Eugenie Sage said.
“This is an important development for the Taranaki region, which like all regions, is suffering from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m pleased that this project is providing employment for 10 people at a time when jobs are most needed,” Shane Jones said.
The 850 metres of boardwalk through a previously difficult and muddy section of the Mangorei track was completed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) as part of a wider project which received $13.3 million from the Provincial Growth Fund.
“This is the first milestone in a series of upgrades for the Taranaki Crossing, with more work planned for spring and summer when weather conditions for construction are more suitable” said Eugenie Sage.
“With this work done, focus will now switch to planning for the construction of a number of boardwalks across the wetlands near the Pouakai Ranges – one of the next milestones DOC is keen to complete.”
When finished, the Taranaki Crossing will be enable visitors to enjoy more of Taranaki Maunga and its cultural and natural heritage. The improvements will also reduce the impact of people visiting the maunga.
The track upgrades are designed to keep people from walking on or near culturally and ecologically significant sites. Visitors should come away from the experience understanding more about the whenua they have just walked across.
“Our regions will depend on their local visitor attractions to bring in tourists, and when complete, the Taranaki Crossing is expected to increase visitor numbers by 35,000-40,000 by 2025,” Shane Jones said.
“That is expected to boost Taranaki’s tourism economy by $3.7m annually, increase opportunities for iwi and others to invest in tourism-related businesses and support conservation efforts in the region, while also opening it up for everyone to enjoy responsibly.”
The project is expected to be fully complete by 2023.